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“Holding forth the Word of Life” Philippians 2:16
“Holding fast the Faithful Word” Titus 1:9
Gary Hudson has a set of questions against the King James Bible as published in the internet (http://members.aol.com/pilgrimpub/questkjv.htm). His questionnaire entitled, “Questions for the KJV-Only Cult,” is actually directed at Ruckmanites. Unfortunately, Hudson did not care to clarify that the majority of KJV advocates are not of the Ruckmanite origin or stripe. Many readers do go away confused, thinking that all defenders of the King James Bible are “Ruckmanites” and “heretics.”
It must be underscored that Bible believers and KJV defenders like Edward F Hills, David Otis Fuller, D A Waite, Ian Paisley, David Cloud, Timothy Tow, the Trinitarian Bible Society, the Dean Burgon Society, and the Far Eastern Bible College do NOT espouse at all the beliefs of Ruckman that:
Nevertheless, Hudson’s questions have created enough misinformation on and misrepresentation of the King James Bible and the majority of its advocates that a response is necessary. Below are Hudson’s questions followed by my answers from a KJV-superiority perspective.
(1) Must we possess a perfectly flawless Bible translation in order to call it “the word of God”? If so, how do we know “it” is perfect? If not, why do some limit “the word of God” to only one 17th Century English translation? Where was “the word of God” prior to 1611?
We believe that “the King James Version (or Authorised Version) of the English Bible is a true, faithful, and accurate translation of these two providentially preserved Texts [Traditional Masoretic Hebrew Text and Traditional Greek Text underlying the KJV], which in our time has no equal among all of the other English Translations. The translators did such a fine job in their translation task that we can without apology hold up the Authorised Version and say ‘This is the Word of God!’ while at the same time realising that, in some verses, we must go back to the underlying original language Texts for complete clarity, and also compare Scripture with Scripture.” (The Dean Burgon Society, “Articles of Faith,” section II.A.)
Every Bible translation can be legitimately called “the Word of God” if it is true and faithful to the original and traditional text. We refuse to consider heretical Bibles like the New World Translation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses as “the Word of God.” We also reject as unreliable all Bible versions (eg NIV, TEV, TLB, CEV …) that are a result of the dynamic equivalence method of translation, and those (eg RSV, NASB, ESV …) that cast doubt and/or omit verses based on corrupted readings of the Alexandrian or Westcott-Hort Text, and consider them unsafe for use.
Where was the Word of God prior to 1611? Well, the Word of God is found in the divinely inspired and perfectly preserved Traditional Text of OT and NT Scriptures used and recognised by the Church down through the ages, and in all the faithful and reliable translations that were based on those Texts, viz, Martin Luther’s German Bible (1522), William Tyndale’s Bible (1525), Myles Coverdale’s Bible (1535), The Matthew’s Bible (1537), The Great Bible (1539–41), and The Geneva Bible (1557–60).
It is significant to note that prior to the KJV, the English translations were largely individual efforts. The KJV on the other hand is a corporate work. In the words of the translators, the KJV was not produced “to make a bad one a good one; but to make a good one better, or out of many good ones one principal good one.” For this purpose and with such devotion the KJV translation committee was formed, and they were careful to “assemble together; not too many, lest one should trouble another; and yet many, lest many things haply might escape them.”
The King James Bible is a product of the 16th Century Protestant Reformation. The special providential hand of God was clearly at work at the time of the Reformation not only in the separation of the true church from the false church, but also in the invention of the printing press, the renewed interest in the study of the original languages, the identification of the purest Greek Text (Textus Receptus) which became the source text for the KJV. These products of the Protestant Reformation bear the divine imprimatur.
God holds His people in every age responsible for using the divinely inspired and preserved original texts and only the faithful and accurate translations of His Word. The KJV-superiority position does not limit the Word of God to only one 17th Century English Translation, but advocates that the KJV, being still the most accurate English translation based on the purest texts, should be the only Bible used by English-speaking Christians today. To use other Bibles when the best is clearly available would be to neglect our responsibility.
(2) Were the KJV translators “liars” for saying that “the meanest translation” is still “the word of God”?
The 1611 Preface of the KJV is often used by anti-KJVists to support the corrupt modern versions. They argue that in that Preface the KJV translators themselves viewed even the worst English versions as the Word of God. Did the KJV translators really say that every translation of the Bible even if filled with grammatical, translational, or doctrinal errors could be rightly called the Word of God? They certainly did not. The context in which they wrote those words clearly reveals this: “Now to the latter we answer, that we do not deny, nay, we affirm and avow, that the very meanest translation of the Bible in English set forth by men of our profession (for we have seen none of theirs of the whole Bible as yet) containeth the word of God, nay, is the word of God: as the King’s speech which he uttered in parliament, being translated into French, Dutch, Italian, and Latin, is still the King’s speech, though it be not interpreted by every translator with the like grace.”
It is clear that by the word “meanest” they do not mean “worst” (ie “evil in the highest degree”). Who would dare mistranslate the king’s speech? Clearly they were not talking about sense but style. By “meanest” they meant poor in literary grace. When beginning Greek students translate their Greek Bible into English, it may be rough and wooden; but if literal and precise, it is the Word of God. The KJV translators, some of whom were Puritans, certainly did not humour wicked or corrupt versions. It is utterly ridiculous and absurd to suggest that they did.
The KJV translators were certainly not “liars,” but anti-KJVists have put words into their mouths to make them mean what they did not mean by “meanest” in a mean attempt to demean the pro-KJV position.
(3) Do you believe that the Hebrew and Greek used for the KJV are the word of God?
Yes, we believe in the divine, Verbal Plenary Inspiration and Verbal Plenary Preservation of the Scriptures in the original languages, their consequent inerrancy and infallibility, and as the perfect Word of God, the Supreme and final authority in faith and life (2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:20–21; Ps 12:6–7; Matt 5:18, 24:35). We believe the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament underlying the Authorised (King James) Version to be the very Word of God, infallible and inerrant.
(4) Do you believe that the Hebrew and Greek underlying the KJV can “correct” the English?
Yes, we believe that the inspired, infallible and inerrant Hebrew and Greek words underlying the KJV can correct the mistranslations of the modern English Bibles which use the corrupt Westcott-Hort Text, and use the dynamic equivalence method of translation.
We do not believe that the King James translators have been at all careless in their translation of their Bible, but do recognise that when interpreting difficult verses, we need to consult the underlying Hebrew and Greek texts in order to shed light on the full or complete meaning of a word, verse or passage. We affirm with the Dean Burgon Society that “the King James Version (or Authorised Version) of the English Bible is a true, faithful, and accurate translation of these two providentially preserved Texts [Traditional Masoretic Hebrew Text and Traditional Greek Text underlying the KJV], which in our time has no equal among all of the other English Translations. The translators did such a fine job in their translation task that we can without apology hold up the Authorised Version of 1611 and say ‘This is the Word of God!’ while at the same time realising that, in some verses, we must go back to the underlying original language Texts for complete clarity, and also compare Scripture with Scripture.” (The Dean Burgon Society, “Articles of Faith,” section II.A).
(5) Do you believe that the English of the KJV “corrects” its own Hebrew and Greek texts from which it was translated?
No, we do not believe that the English of the KJV corrects its own Hebrew and Greek Text. How can it do so, since it is derived from its very own original language text? The original Scriptures in Hebrew and Greek can and should never be corrected by any translation whether English, Chinese, Korean, Indonesian, or any other language. We categorically reject Ruckman’s heretical view that the English KJV is “more inspired” than the original Hebrew and Greek Scriptures that underlie it.
(6) Is any translation “inspired”? Is the KJV an “inspired translation”?
God “inspired” or “breathed out” (θεόπνευστος, 2 Tim 3:16) His words in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Strictly speaking, the divinely inspired words were the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words God gave to His Prophets and Apostles to pen the Holy Scriptures.
What is the relation between the inspired text and its derived translation? By way of illustration, the original language Scripture underlying the KJV is like the perfect platinum yardstick of the Smithsonian Institute, infallible, inerrant, authoritative. The KJV and other accurate and reliable translations are like the common yardstick, though not 100% are good and safe enough for use. Although there may be a need to consult the underlying Hebrew and Greek texts especially when interpreting difficult verses, we do not believe that the King James translators were in any way careless in translating their Bible. The same however cannot be said of the modern versions—they are definitely shorter by many inches and far too unreliable.
(7) Is the KJV “scripture?” Is it “given by inspiration of God” (2 Tim 3:16)?
The KJV as a translation was not “given by inspiration of God.” “All Scripture” (πᾶσα γραφὴ) of 2 Timothy 3:16 refers to the original Hebrew, Aramaic OT and Greek NT words that God had “breathed out” without any error or mistake. These divinely inspired words in the original languages are infallible and inerrant and cannot be corrected, improved upon or changed in any way.
The English words of the KJV are translated words. But since the English words in the KJV are so accurately and faithfully translated from the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek words, we can confidently declare the KJV to be “the Word of God,” and “Holy Scripture,” and thus “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim 3:16–17).
(8) When was the KJV “given by inspiration of God”? – 1611 … or any of the KJV major/minor revisions in 1613, 1629, 1638, 1644, 1701, 1744, 1762, 1769, and the last one in 1850?
The KJV was first published in 1611. However, there were revisions that followed soon after; all of which were completed by 1629. The revisions that occurred between 1611 and 1638 were due to printing errors. The KJV translators themselves, namely, Samuel Ward and John Bois, corrected these errors. In the course of typesetting, the printers had inadvertently left out words or phrases; all such manifest typographical errors had been corrected. For example, Ps 69:32 of the 1611 edition read “good” instead of “God.” This was clearly a printer’s error, and was corrected in 1617.
Apart from a slight revision in 1638, there followed several facetious attempts to revise the KJV between 1638–1762 but none were successful.
The final revision of the KJV was done between 1762 and 1769. The 1762 revision had to do with spelling. For example, old forms that had an “e” after verbs, and “u” instead of “v,” and “f” for “s” were all standardised to conform to modern spelling. For example, “feare” is “fear,” “mooued” is “moved,” and “euill” is “evil,” and “alfo,” is “also.” All these Gothic and German spelling peculiarities have been Romanised. 1769 saw an updating of weights, measures, and coins. This 1769 edition of the KJV is the one popularly in print today. It is important to note that the 1769 edition is essentially the same as the 1611.
1850? Is this Hudson’s typo? There was an 1805 (not 50) edition which accidentally printed a proofreader’s note “to remain” in the text of Gal 4:29 that made the verse to read “him that was born after the Spirit to remain ….” The only significant revision in the 1800s was in 1873 when Scrivener worked on the KJV’s marginal notes, orthography, and cross references.
There are not two or more KJVs but only one, and the one that is used today is basically the 1769 edition.
(9) In what language did Jesus Christ (not Peter Ruckman and others) teach that the Old Testament would be preserved forever according to Matt 5:18?
Jesus taught that the OT would be preserved forever in the Hebrew language. This preservation must logically apply to the NT as well which was written in Greek. The jot and tittle of the divinely inspired Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek words were the words Jesus promised would be preserved for all time in Matt 5:18.
(10) Where does the Bible teach that God will perfectly preserve His Word in the form of one 17th Century English translation?
Nowhere specifically. Nevertheless, it must be said that the Bible does teach explicitly that God will preserve perfectly His divinely inspired words in the original languages as promised in Ps 12:6–7, Matt 5:18, Matt 24:35 and many other passages. By the logic of faith we identify the perfect Word of God to be the inspired and preserved Hebrew and Aramaic words of the Masoretic Text and the Greek words of the Textus Receptus underlying the KJV.
(11) Did God lose the words of the originals when the “autographs” were destroyed?
Although we do not have the Autographa (the very first scripts) today, we have the Apographa (copies) which reflect the Autographa. All the divinely inspired words of the Autographa have been providentially preserved in the Apographa underlying the KJV. We affirm with the Westminster divines that the Autographa “being immediately inspired by God [are] by His singular care and providence kept pure in all ages” (Westminster Confession of Faith, I:VIII).
Providentially speaking, the Autographa were neither “lost” nor “destroyed.” The purity of God’s Word has been faithfully maintained throughout the whole transmission of the Byzantine/Majority/Received Text, and finally attained in the Apographa of the Hebrew Masoretic Text for the Old Testament and the Greek Textus Receptus for the New Testament underlying the KJV.
By faith, we believe in God’s promise that He will allow none of His words to be lost. Ps 12:6–7 says, “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” Jesus declared in Matt 24:35, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” In Matt 5:18. Jesus promised, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”
(12) Did the KJV translators mislead their readers by saying that their New Testament was “translated out of the original Greek?” Were they “liars” for claiming to have “the original Greek” to translate from?
No, they were not liars, because the term “original Greek” indeed refers to the inspired and preserved Greek NT Text they had. The term “original” only means that the NT was originally written in Greek.
(13) Was the “original Greek” lost after 1611?
No, the “original Greek” continues to exist to this day, and we call it the Textus Receptus Greek New Testament.
(14) Did the great Protestant Reformation (1517–1603) take place without “the word of God”?
Of course not! The Protestant Reformation arose because of the Bible. Sola Scriptura (Scriptures Alone) was one of the Reformation pillars. What were the pre-1611 Bibles that were “the Word of God”? They were the Wycliffe Bible (1382), the Tyndale Bible (1525), the Coverdale Bible (1535), the Matthew Bible (1537), the Taverner Bible (1539), the Great Bible (1539), the Geneva Bible (1560), and the Bishops’ Bible (1568), all of which facilitated the Reformation cause, and were faithful precursors to the King James Bible.
(15) What translation of “the word of God,” used by the Reformers, was absolutely infallible and inerrant?
Every translation of the Word of God used by the Reformers that was faithfully translated and based on the pure and preserved OT Masoretic Text and NT Received Text may rightly be considered the Word of God, infallible and inerrant insofar as they accurately reflect the original text.
(16) If the KJV is “God’s infallible and preserved word to the English-speaking people,” did the “English-speaking people” have “the word of God” from 1525–1604?
Yes, they did, because they were using faithful translations that were based on the pure and preserved OT Masoretic Text and NT Received Text. They were also using the most accurate versions of their time, and that is the main thing that God expects of His people.
(17) Was Tyndale’s (1525), or Coverdale’s (1535), or Matthew’s (1537), or the Great (1539), or Geneva (1560) … English Bibles absolutely infallible?
Answered in Qs14, 15, and 16.
(18) If neither the KJV nor any other one version were absolutely inerrant, could a lost sinner still be “born again” by the “incorruptible word of God” (1 Pet 1:23)?
A lost sinner can be and must be born again by the “incorruptible word of God” (1 Pet 1:23). God’s Word has been purely preserved in the Hebrew Masoretic Text and Greek Textus Receptus. Any accurate translation based on this can be used of God to save sinners.
Can the NIV, for instance, lead someone to salvation? Here is an answer from the Trinitarian Bible Society: “The NIV contains enough truth to be used of the Holy Spirit to draw a man to the Saviour. But although it contains truth, is it the very Word of God? If not, Christians must be urged to return to the truth.”
There is no denial that sinners may be saved through the modern versions if such versions contain enough of the gospel (1 Cor 15:1–4), just like a person may be saved by hearing a sermon or reading a tract. This however does not mean that God sanctions such versions or that the Church should continue using them. Remember, God still holds His people responsible to use the most faithful translation, based on the purest text.
(19) If the KJV can “correct” the inspired originals, did the Hebrew and Greek originally “breathed out by God” need correction or improvement?
Answered in Q5.
(20) Since most “KJV-Onlyites” believe the KJV is the inerrant and inspired “scripture” (2 Pet 1:20), and 2 Pet 1:21 says that “the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost,” would you not therefore reason thus—“For the King James Version came not in 1611 by the will of man: but holy men of God translated as they were moved by the Holy Ghost”?
This question assumes all KJV-Only advocates to be Ruckmanites who believe that the KJV was given by divine inspiration. This is a very unfair and untrue representation of the facts. It would be absurd to ascribe to a translation the same degree of perfection that the Holy Spirit gave in the inspiration of the original language Scriptures. The divine inspiration of the original language Scriptures is quite different from the translation of the Scriptures for no translators can claim divine inspiration for their translation work. Nonetheless, the KJV pastors and scholars faithfully and accurately translated their English Bible from the inspired and inerrant Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek words that God has providentially and infallibly preserved.
(21) Which reading is the verbally (word-for-word) inerrant scripture—“whom ye” (Cambridge KJV’s) or “whom he” (Oxford KJV’s) at Jer 34:16?
The reading “whom ye” in the Cambridge KJV is correct. In Jer 34:16, the Hebrew שִׁלַּחְתֶּם (shillachthem) is the piel perfect form of the root שָׁלַח (shalach) with a 2nd masculine plural suffix. The verbally inerrant reading is thus “whom ye.” The Oxford “whom he” has to be a spelling/typing/printing error.
(22) Which reading is the verbally (word-for-word) inerrant scripture—“sin” (Cambridge KJV’s) or “sins” (Oxford KJV’s) at 2 Chron 33:19?
The Hebrew word used in 2 Chron 33:19 is חַטָּאתוֹ (chattatho), a feminine singular noun with a 3rd masculine singular suffix (see BDB, sv חַטָּאת, 308). Again the Cambridge KJV, “his sin,” is correct (see Q21 above).
(23) Who publishes the infallible “inerrant KJV”?
The British Crown owns the copyright to the KJV, and hence the right to grant permission to publish it to whomever she wishes. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II licensed only William Collins Sons and Company Limited to print and publish the KJV in 1958. However, it does seem that the Crown does not care too much to enforce her copyright. The KJV is published today by not a few University Presses, Bible Societies, publishing houses, and software companies in Britain and America and elsewhere. As regards the “inerrant KJV” see Q24 below.
(24) Since the revisions of the KJV from 1613–1850 [sic] made … many hundreds of changes [sic] … would you say the KJV was “verbally inerrant” in 1611 … or 1629, 1638, 1644, 1664, 1701, 1744, 1762, 1769, or 1850 [sic]?
When we talk about infallibility, inerrancy, and inspiration, we are primarily referring to the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words of the Holy Scriptures. A Bible translation is “infallible,” and “inerrant” only to the extent that it is faithful and accurate to the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, and even then its “inerrancy,” and “infallibility” is not direct but derived.
It must be noted that the changes to the KJV were not due to any change in the Hebrew and Greek Text, but to the refinements that have been made to the English language itself, and to the typographical or typesetting mistakes that arose out of the printing process. The original language text itself is verbally inerrant. Translations made from that text would share in the verbal inerrancy of the text insofar as they are accurate word-for-word translations of the text. Thus, refinement and improvement in translation was not only possible, but also needful (see answer to Q8).
(25) Would you contend that God waited until a king named “James” sat on the throne of England before perfectly preserving His Word in English, and would you think well … if the historical fact was revealed to you that King James was a practicing homosexual all his life?
There are those who say that King James was a homosexual, and there are those who think not (recently, a scholarly 392-page book by Stephen A Coston Sr, King James the VI of Scotland and the I of England: Unjustly Accused? [St Petersburg: KoenigsWort Incorporated, 1996], takes the latter view). But for argument’s sake, let us say King James was homosexual. Being homosexual he would surely alter scriptural texts that speak against the sin of homosexuality. We do not find such alterations in the KJV. On the contrary, we find intact such passages as Rom 1:26–27 speaking out against “vile affections; for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” If King James were truly homosexual, he would be expected to change or dilute this passage. There was no such tampering. In any case, even if King James was homosexual, he was not among the translators, and had no part in the translating work.
(26) Would you contend that the KJV translator, Richard Thomson, who worked on Genesis-Kings in the Westminster group, was “led by God in translating” even though he was an alcoholic that “drank his fill daily” throughout the work? (Gustavus Paine, The Men Behind the KJV, 40, 69).
No one can ever claim that the men who translated the KJV were perfectly sinless. If they were alive, they would probably be the first to admit their sins, and confess the grace of God that allowed them the privilege of being involved in the Bible translation work. Even the original OT and NT writers of the Scriptures were not perfect men. For example, David committed adultery and yet God used him to write the Psalms. Peter denied Christ three times and yet wrote 1–2 Peter. Generally speaking, there is no reason to doubt that the men who translated the KJV, like the biblical writers, were regenerate men of piety, godliness and erudite scholarship, their weaknesses and failings of the flesh notwithstanding.
Now, what about Richard Thomson? Richard Montague called him “a most admirable philologist,” and no doubt for this reason he was inducted into the translation committee. Paine says that he was among the “younger men.” What about his drinking? McClure would have us know that Thomson’s alcoholism occurred in his later years, and not necessarily during the time he worked on the KJV. At any rate, even if Thomson did drink, Paine tells us that “he arose in the morning with his head clear enough to go forward competently with the day’s work.”
The Bible teaches the divine inspiration of the words and not the men whether apostles, prophets, scribes or translators. The men were spiritually guided (2 Pet 1:21), but the words were divinely inspired and absolutely inerrant not only in matters of salvation, but also in matters of history, geography and science (2 Tim 3:16).
(27) Is it possible that the rendition “gay clothing,” in the KJV at Jas 2:3, could give the wrong impression to the modern-English KJV reader?
It is unfortunate that the word “gay” today has acquired a negative connotation. The modern English KJV reader however would not be misled, when he reads the context of Jas 2:3 – “And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place …” It is easy to see here that the word “gay” has nothing to do with homosexual attire, but with wealthy, ostentatious dressing.
(28) Did dead people “wake up” in the morning according to Isa 37:36 in the KJV?
In Isa 37:36, the KJV renders a literal and accurate translation of the Hebrew text: “Then the angel of the LORD went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.” It is quite plain that “they” who arose were not the same as “they” who were dead corpses.
(29) Was “Baptist” John’s last name according to Matt 14:8 and Luke 7:20 in the KJV?
In Bible times, as well as in KJV English, it was not uncommon to find a person surnamed with his title or official designation. Eg Antiochus Epiphanes, Julius Caesar, Judas Maccabeus. The word “Baptist” was therefore not John’s last name, but his well-known designation.
(30) Does 2 Cor 6:11–13 in the KJV make any sense to the modern English KJV reader as compared to the NIV?
Although modern English versions may make certain verses easier to understand to the modern reader, they may not be accurate to the true meaning or intent of the text. As a matter of fact, present-day English versions like the NIV, by using the loose “dynamic equivalence” method of translation, have gone too far in giving a modern and strange voice in an attempt to replace the KJV.
The NIV rendering of 2 Cor 6:11–13 is a case in point. It shows how the NIV is an interpretation of or a commentary on the original text, and not a word-for-word translation. For example, the KJV practically translates word-for-word the meaning of the original text in verse 11, “to stoma hemon (our mouth) aneoge (is opened) pros (unto) humas (you),” but the NIV interprets the words as “We have spoken freely to you” which do not give the actual or precise meaning of the verbally (not conceptually) inspired Scripture. In fact the original words mean much more than “free speech.” As such, the NIV should not be taken as “Holy Bible” since it does not translate the inspired words of God accurately word-for-word. At best, it is only a commentary on the Bible like any other commentary written by men and thus prone to human fallibility and subjectivity.
Hence, we strongly discourage the use of the modern versions disguised as “Holy Bible” for personal study because of the many omissions, distortions, inaccuracies and misinterpretations found in them due to their corrupt source text and wrong method of translation. Instead, we recommend The Defined King James Bible published by The Bible For Today Press, 1998, where all the archaic words have their respective modern meanings footnoted for convenient reference. For example, the archaic word “straightened” in 2 Cor 6:12 is footnoted as “closely restricted, hemmed in.” Readers today can thus easily read and understand the faithful and reliable KJV.
(31) Does the singular “oath’s” occurring in every KJV at Matt 14:9 and Mark 6:26 “correct” every Textus Receptus Greek which has the plural “oaths”?
Although ὅρκους (horkous) is in the Greek plural, there are times when it is legitimate to render the plural in the singular especially when it is a plural of majesty. At times the plural speaks not of multiplicity but of majesty. It seeks to highlight the grandiose nature of the meaning contained in the noun. This is probably the case with Matt 14:9 and Mark 6:26 especially when we notice that the oath was given by a king. In other words, it was no ordinary oath, but a royal oath, and must thus be doubly honoured by the king who made it. That was why Herod, though extremely reluctant to kill John, could not retract the promise he had already made. The KJV translation, “for the oath’s sake,” is thus perfectly legitimate.
(32) Did Jesus teach a way for men to be “worshipped” according to Luke 14:10 in the KJV, contradicting the first commandment and what He said in Luke 4:8? (Remember—you may not go to the Greek for any “light” if you are a KJV-Onlyite!)
The word δόξα (doxa) here is to be distinguished from the usual “worship” (λατρεύω, latreuo, and προσκυνέω, proskuneo) that is accorded to God. The context clearly shows that the word “worship” in Luke 14:10 has nothing to do with religious worship, but has the connotation of respect or honour given to men in high office or dignitaries. The KJV is thus not self-contradictory in Luke 4:8 and 14:10.
Although we strongly recommend the laity to use the KJV as their scriptural text in their study of the Bible, we reject the fallacious view that the Greek Bible cannot be used to shed light on the English text.
(33) Is the Holy Spirit an “it” according to John 1:32; Rom 8:16, 26; and 1 Pet 1:11 in the KJV? (Again—you may not go to the Greek for any “light” if you are a KJV-Onlyite!)
The word “it” here, with reference to the Holy Spirit, is the direct result of the literal translation of the neuter gender of the pronouns and participles in the Greek text that stand in agreement with the neuter gender for the Greek word for “spirit” (πνεῦμα, pneuma). This does not mean that the KJV teaches that the Holy Spirit is an impersonal force. The cited verses themselves show that this is not the case, as a force cannot bear witness with our spirit that we are the children of God (Rom 8:16), make intercession for us (Rom 8:26) or testify beforehand of the sufferings of Christ (1 Pet 1:11). Only a person can do such things, and the Holy Spirit is a person—the 3rd person of the Holy Trinity.
Again—although we hold to a KJV-superiority position, we categorically reject the false view that says the inspired Greek Text may not be used to shed light on the KJV.
(34) Does Luke 23:56 support a “Friday” crucifixion in the KJV (no “day” here in Greek).
Luke 23:56 supports a “Friday” crucifixion in the light of verses 54 and 55. Luke clearly recorded that the day of the crucifixion was the day of “the preparation, and the sabbath drew on (near)” (Luke 23:54). The “preparation” was the preparation for the sabbath of the passover week (2 Chron 30:21–22, ie, the feast of the unleavened bread which lasts for 7 days). The passover that Jesus observed was held on a Thursday evening, while “the preparation of the passover” was held on a Friday (Mark 15:42). Jesus was thus crucified and buried on Friday before the “sabbath day” (ie, Saturday) which was a day of rest. The women returned to the tomb on Sunday with their spices and ointments only to discover that Jesus is risen from the dead (Luke 24:1–6).
(35) Did Jesus command for a girl to be given “meat” to eat according to Luke 8:55 in the KJV? (or, “of them that sit at meat with thee” at Luke 14:10).
It is most reasonable to translate Luke 8:55 the way the KJV has done, because what else could have been given to the girl to eat than something that is edible? In KJV English, “meat” refers to “food.” As for Luke 14:10, the context of the wedding feast makes it obvious that there must have been “meat” or “food” on the table, since they were obviously reclining down “to eat.”
(36) Was Charles Haddon Spurgeon a “Bible-corrector” for saying that Rom 8:24 should be rendered “saved in hope,” instead of the KJV’s “saved by hope”?
There is no mistranslation in the KJV of Rom 8:24 since the word “hope” (ἐλπίδι, elpidi) in this verse is in the dative case, which can be translated in several ways. Spurgeon’s interpretation is only one possible way to translate the dative case. Not all interpreters will agree with Spurgeon that it should be rendered “saved in hope” instead of the KJV’s “saved by hope.” Neither do we think it good for anyone to cause a believer to doubt God’s Word as accurately translated in the KJV from the inspired and preserved text.
(37) Was J Frank Norris a “Bible-corrector” for saying that the correct rendering of John 3:5 should be “born of water and the spirit,” and for saying that “repent and turn” in Acts 26:20 should be “repent, even turn”? (Norris-Wallace Debate, 1934, pp108, 116). Also, is Norman Pickering an “Alexandrian Apostate” for stating, “The nature of language does not permit a ‘perfect’ translation—the semantic area of words differs between languages so that there is seldom complete overlap”?
The KJV has the second “of” in John 3:5 in italics, which means that it is supplied by the translators and not found in the Greek text. This allows the reader to decide for himself whether to interpret it with or without the preposition. Actually the word ‘spirit’ here is in the genitive case, the same as the word “water.” The genitive has the idea of “out of” especially when used with the Greek preposition ἐκ (ek). It is reasonable for the translators to conclude that the preposition applies to both the words and not only to the first one.
As for Acts 26:20, the Greek conjunction καὶ (kai) can be translated as “and,” “also,” or “even.” The rendering, “repent, even turn” though permissible, does not detract from the KJV’s “repent and turn” which is perfectly accurate.
It is not wrong to state that the nature of languages does not permit a “perfect” translation, but surely a translation ought to be as “perfect” as can be in terms of its accuracy and faithfulness to the original text. What is required of God’s people is to use the most accurate translation available, one that is closest to the original text. The KJV is such a translation for the English language.
(38) Was R A Torrey “lying” when he said the following in 1907—“No one, so far as I know, holds that the English translation of the Bible is absolutely infallible and inerrant. The doctrine held by many is that the Scriptures as originally given were absolutely infallible and inerrant, and that our English translation is a substantially accurate rendering of the Scriptures as originally given”? (Difficulties in the Bible, p17).
It is correct to believe that the Scriptures “as originally given” meaning the Scriptures in the original languages—Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek—are the absolutely infallible and inerrant Word of God. All the originally inspired Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words have been perfectly preserved by God and we have them today.
Our English translation is a “substantially accurate rendering of the Scriptures as originally given.” In other words, the KJV, even though it is the best, most accurate, most faithful translation, is still a translation of the Scriptures as originally given.
(39) Is Don Edwards correct in agreeing “in favor of canonizing our KJV,” thus replacing the inspired canon in Hebrew and Greek? (The Flaming Torch, June 1989, p6).
It is not correct to favour the “canonizing” of the KJV, as that would elevate it to a status even higher than the inspired and preserved texts from which it was translated. Read the answers to Qs 5–6.
(40) Did God supernaturally “move His Word from the original languages to English” in 1611?
No, we do not believe that God supernaturally moved His Word from the original languages to English (see answers to Qs 1, 3–7). We categorically reject the Ruckmanite view of “double inspiration” and “advanced revelation” for the KJV.
More Answers to Questions
(41) If the KJV translators were inspired of God in their work, how is it that they humbly acknowledge their own shortcomings and imperfections as Bible translators?
The KJV translators rightly did not claim to be “inspired” by God in their translation work, because they were not. Inspiration is applicable only to the words that God had “breathed out” in the beginning and inscripturated by Spirit-moved Prophets and Apostles who were specially commissioned by the Lord to preach and write the Holy Scriptures (2 Pet 1:21, 2 Tim 3:16, 1 Thess 2:13).
Nevertheless, it must be observed that the King James translators recognised with deep reverence that the sacred texts from which they were translating were the inspired words of God. This is why they ardently desired to make their translation as accurate as possible despite their own shortcomings and imperfections. In contrast to this, not all who are involved in modern Bible translation work today have such a high regard for the texts they translate, as evidenced from the bold liberties they are willing to take with the text.
(42) When there is a difference between the Textus Receptus and the Majority Text, why do you prefer the Textus Receptus?
The “Majority Text” or “Byzantine Text” refers to most of the extant Greek NT manuscripts we have today. The majority of faithfully transmitted manuscripts bear remarkable uniformity. There are some differences, but God’s special providential preservation of His words ensured that “the text found in the vast majority of the Greek New Testament manuscripts is a trustworthy reproduction of the divinely inspired Original Text” (E F Hills, The King James Version Defended, 106).
The special providential preservation of the NT saw the eventual printing of the Textus Receptus in the time of the Reformation. The Textus Receptus was an edition of the Majority Text that was the traditional text, received and used extensively by the Church throughout the centuries, and by the Reformers and Protestants for their translation work in various languages.
The Textus Receptus and Majority Text belong to the same family of traditional and preserved texts. However in a few places, the Textus Receptus is preferred over the Majority Text because the Protestant Reformation was used by God to recognise and identify all the pure words of the original Scriptures. One example is 1 John 5:7 (see my paper, “A Preliminary Examination of the Antiquity and Authenticity of the Johannine Comma: Does a Clear, Biblical Proof Text Exist for the Doctrine of the Trinity?” in http://logosresourcepages.org/Versions/johannine.htm).
(43) Did the Lord Jesus and the Apostles make use of and quote from the Septuagint (ancient Greek translation of the OT), even though the Septuagint differed from the original Hebrew in places and was certainly not a perfect translation?
We doubt that Jesus made use of and quoted from the Septuagint (a Greek translation of the inspired Hebrew OT). There is not one instance in the Scriptures where we find Jesus or the Apostles saying that they have quoted from the Septuagint. Many of the Greek quotations of the OT do not agree with the Septuagint. The few quotations that do agree are probably due to the Septuagint copying from the inspired Greek NT rather than the other way round. It is also reasonable to assume that Jesus and the Apostles did their own direct translation of the Hebrew text into Greek. See Prabhudas Koshy, “Did Jesus and the Apostles Rely on ‘The Corrupt Septuagint’?” Bible Witness (July–September 2002): 25–26.
(44) Since no two manuscripts of the Greek New Testament have been found to be exactly alike, which manuscript is it that has been perfectly preserved and perfectly mirrors the original?
It is fallacious to dogmatically assume that “no two Greek NT manuscripts are exactly the same.” There are over 5000 extant Greek NT manuscripts, and not all of them have been thoroughly examined and compared yet. What we do know for a fact is that the majority of the manuscripts reflect remarkably uniform readings, and this must necessarily mean that they are the providentially preserved copies (see J W Burgon’s The Traditional Text published by the Dean Burgon Society; see also E F Hills, The King James Version Defended, 139–68). Burgon proved that the Traditional Text on which the KJV is based is the trustworthy and providentially preserved text over against Westcott and Hort’s corrupt Alexandrian or Minority Text which is from a very small number (1%) of the extant manuscripts.
More recent studies have also shown that the reading of the KJV is correct all along, and the modern versions wrong. For instance, papyrus manuscript P75 which dates back to the 3rd century contains the ascension clause, “and carried up into heaven,” in Luke 24:51 as found in the KJV. This clause was determined by the NASB translators to be non-inspired, and hence deleted. The original NASB did not contain Luke’s account of Jesus’ ascension. With this manuscript evidence, the NASB committee will do an about turn, and reinstate the ascension clause back into the Bible. This shows how unreliable these modern textual critics and translations are, and how reliable on the other hand the KJV is, together with its underlying ancient texts, standing the test of time according to God’s promise (Ps 12:6–7, Matt 5:18, 24:35).
The two chief representatives of the Alexandrian or Minority Text are the Codex Vaticanus (B) and Codex Sinaiticus (א). According to Burgon, these two Alexandrian manuscripts are absolutely unreliable. Burgon wrote, “B and א, have … established a tyrannical ascendancy over the imagination of the Critics, which can only be fitly spoken of as a blind superstition. It matters nothing that all four are discovered on careful scrutiny to differ essentially, not only from ninety-nine out of a hundred of the whole body of extant MSS. besides, but even from one another. This last circumstance, obviously fatal to their corporate pretensions, is unaccountably overlooked. And yet it admits of only one satisfactory explanation: viz. that in different degrees they all exhibit a fabricated text. Between the first two (B and א) there subsists an amount of sinister resemblance, which proves that they must have been derived at no very remote period from the same corrupt original. … And be it remembered that the omissions, additions, substitutions, transpositions, and modifications, are by no means the same in both. It is in fact easier to find two consecutive verses in which these two MSS. differ the one from the other, than two consecutive verses in which they entirely agree” [J W Burgon, The Revision Revised (Collingswood NJ: Dean Burgon Society Press, 1883), 12].
We have every reason to believe the pure text of God’s Word is found in the Byzantine/Majority/Received Text that underlies the KJV as opposed to the host of modern versions that are based on the grossly corrupt Alexandrian/Minority/Rejected Text of Westcott and Hort and the modern versions.
(45) Why does the KJV differ from the Textus Receptus in certain places like Acts 19:20 where the Greek has “Lord” and the KJV has “God”?
There is no significant difference between the Textus Receptus and the KJV in Acts 19:20. The Greek word κύριος (kurios) can be translated in a number of ways depending on the context. It can be rendered “Lord,” “master,” “sir,” “God,” or “owner” (see The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament, sv “kuvrio",” 900–1). Acts 19:29 certainly allows for “God” instead of “Lord” since the context is speaking of the Word of God as a whole. If it is rendered as “word of the Lord” it might be construed as some specific word from Jesus instead of God’s Word or the Holy Scriptures in general. In any case, whether it is “the word of God,” or “the word of the Lord,” both are perfectly acceptable translations of the original.
(46) Has any Bible to date proved to be that hoped for improvement of the KJV?
Some say the NKJV is the answer. We doubt that it is, since it has done away with the “ye’s,” “thee’s,” “thou’s,” “thy’s,” and “thine’s.” These not only serve to distinguish between the 2nd person singular and plural, but they also heighten the reverence of the language of God’s Holy Word. There are also many other unnecessary changes to the old KJV. The NKJV is not recommended because it (1) shows sympathy to the corrupt Westcott and Hort Text; (2) departs from the Traditional Hebrew Masoretic Text and the Greek Textus Receptus at certain places; (3) incorrectly translates certain verses (eg, Heb 2:16 where its mistranslation undermines the doctrine of the incarnation of Christ); (4) unnecessarily changes perfectly understandable and accurate words from the old KJV; (5) adds words without italicising them, thereby giving the false impression that they are from the original; and (6) changes nouns to pronouns and pronouns to nouns (see G W & D E Anderson, The New King James Version, Trinitarian Bible Society, 1995; and D A Waite, The New King James Version Compared to the King James Version and the Underlying Hebrew and Greek Texts, Bible For Today, 1990).
Today, an improved edition of the KJV can be found is The Defined King James Bible which supplies the modern meanings of the archaic words of the KJV in its footnotes.
(47) Why did the KJV translators translate the Apocrypha and include these books in the original 1611 edition?
It must be stated that the KJV translators in no wise considered the Apocrypha to be inspired Scripture. The Westminster Confession of Faith (1643–8) which was written not long after the KJV was translated states that the Apocrypha was clearly not recognised by God’s people to be part of the Word of God. It is significant to note that when it came to translating the Apocrypha, the KJV translators did not care very much for it. Scrivener wrote, “It is well known to Biblical scholars that the Apocrypha received very inadequate attention from the revisers of 1611 and their predecessors, so that whole passages remain unaltered from the racy, spirited, rhythmical, but hasty, loose and most inaccurate version … made by Coverdale for the Bible of 1536.”
It is also important to note that it was not only the KJV that contained the Apocrypha but also other Reformation Bibles like the Wycliffe and Geneva Bibles. It was only in 1640 that the Geneva Bible omitted the Apocrypha, and it was not until the 19th century that the removal of the Apocrypha from all Protestant Bibles became the norm.
(48) Why were italics employed by the KJV translators in 1 John 2:23?
The words “he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also” 1 John 2:23 were italicised because the King James translators initially did not find them in the Majority Text and in earlier editions of the Textus Receptus. The common faith however restrained them from omitting those words since they were found in the Great Bible and the Bishops’ Bible. Later research produced evidence that they should be part of inspired Scripture because of the testimony of a good number of Greek manuscripts including a and B. The italics should have been removed in the reprints of the KJV but unfortunately escaped the attention of the printers.
(49) Why are there 35 textual notes given in the margin of the King James Bible? (Examples: Matt 26:26, “Many Greek copies have …,” Luke 10:22, “Many ancient copies add these words …,” Luke 17:36, “These verse is wanting in most of the Greek copies,” Acts 25:6, “Or as some copies read, …”.
These marginal notes compared the differences among the various editions of the Textus Receptus. Dr E F Hills observed that “this comparison indicates that the differences which distinguish the various editions of the Textus Receptus from each other are very minor. They are also very few. … the 3rd edition of Stephanus and the first edition of Elzevir differ from one another in the Gospel of Mark only 19 times. On the other hand, the corrupt Alexandrian codices like a, B and D differ in so many places and could not agree among themselves: Codex B disagrees with Codex Aleph in Mark 652 times and with Codex D 1,944 times. What a contrast!
Hills went on to say, “The texts of the several editions of the Textus Receptus were God guided. They were set up under the leading of God’s special providence. Hence the differences between them were kept down to a minimum.”
“But what do we do in these few places in which the several editions of the Textus Receptus disagree with one another? Which text do we follow? The answer to this question is easy. We are guided by the common faith. Hence we favor that form of the Textus Receptus upon which more than any other God, working providentially, has placed the stamp of His approval, namely, the King James Version, or, more precisely, the Greek text underlying the King James Version” [E F Hills, The King James Version Defended (Des Moines: Christian Research Press, 1984), 222–3].
(50) Blayney’s edition of the KJV (1769) became the standard form of the version and is unto this day, but his edition differs from the 1611 edition in about 75,000 minor details. Which edition of the KJV (Blayney’s or the original) is the perfect Bible?
An analysis of the 75,000 minor details will reveal that the changes were for the most part in updating the spelling of English words that had changed over time. It would be therefore quite unfair and untrue to say that our present KJV edition is flawed, not being identical with the 1611 edition in 75,000 details. If a modern English reader were to read the 1611 edition, he may find it very difficult to read, because of all the different spelling of certain words. We must thank the Lord for the subsequent editions of the KJV which made the KJV more accurate and readable. According to Dr D A Waite, there were not 75,000 but only 285 minor changes not of substance but of form such as “towards” for “toward”, “burnt” for “burned,” “amongst” for “among” (Waite, Defending the King James Bible, 238; see also answer to Q8).
Once again we say that the KJV-superiority position does not mean that the KJV cannot be improved on or that the original language texts may not be used to shed further light on God’s truth found in the English Bible. The KJV-superiority position is merely the logical result of applying the principle that God holds His people in the English-speaking world (just as He holds those in other languages) responsible to use the best translation of the Bible that is presently available and done by the best translators (spiritually and academically qualified) from the best Hebrew and Greek texts (NOT the Westcott and Hort text BUT the traditional Masoretic Hebrew and Received Greek texts) which possess all the qualities of infallibility and inerrancy since they possess all the originally inspired words that God has continuously preserved without the loss of any word to the jot and tittle (Ps 12:6–7, Matt 5:18).
For further study, go to my booklet, KJV Questions and Answers (Singapore: Bible Witness Literature, 2003) available freely at the website of Far Eastern Bible College (www.febc.edu.sg).
Click here to view in PDF format.